Okay, so after spending just one perfect fall evening in Annie Campbell’s dreamy backyard we’ve got a major girl crush on the LA catering star. Everything she does is so thoughtful, elevated, and delicious. When she showed us this genius saffron rice trick, we were absolutely floored. You won’t believe how easy this dish is to create, and your guests will be impressed with your mysterious gourmet abilities. Read on to discover Annie’s recipe for crispy saffron tahdig:
photographed by kristen kilpatrick
2 cups Jasmine Rice, rinsed
8 cups water
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning.
2 large pinches saffron threads
8 ounces (approximately 2 cups) French feta cheese, cubed
1 cup labneh
6 scallions, thinly sliced, green stems only
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 – 10 or 11’’ non-stick sauté pan
1. Grease an 11”, or similar size, non-stick sauté pan. Set aside. Note: Take care to coat the entire surface of your pan. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to turnout your tahdig from the pan.
2. Combine the water, saffron, and salt in an 8-quart pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice and return to a boil. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until rice is just barely cooked (it should still have a slight crunch).
3. Strain the rice through a wire strainer, and run cold water over the rice to stop it from cooking. When the rice is cool, set aside 3 cups of rice, and transfer the remaining rice to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the labneh, feta, scallions and two pinches of kosher salt. Use a rubber spatula to combine, taking care to keep the structure of the grains of rice intact.
4. Heat the butter in the greased sauté pan over medium heat. Swirl the butter to coat to the pan. When the butter starts to foam, add the 3 cups of rice that you set aside. Use a rubber spatula to carefully spread out the rice over the surface of the pan, pressing down to form an even layer, and sprinkle with salt. Add the remaining rice mixture and spread it out to form an even, level layer. Cover with a clean tea towel (ensuring that no part of the towel hangs over the side of the pan in order to avoid it from catching on fire). Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for 35 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and run an offset spatula or butter knife around the edge of the tahdig to separate it from the side of the pan. Now for the fun part. Choose a serving piece that is larger than the circumference of your sauté pan, invert it and cover the pan. Put on an oven mitt so that you can hold the bottom of the hot sauté pan. Use your other hand to secure the serving piece against the top the sauté pan. In one quick motion, while holding the sauté pan and the serving piece firmly together, flip the sauté pan over so that it’s now on top of the serving piece. Set the serving piece on a flat surface and slowly remove the sauté pan to reveal the golden-brown tahdig.
6. Cut into wedges to serve, or just dig in. Enjoy!